Budesonide Inhalation (Page 4 of 8)

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in children six months to 12 months of age has been evaluated but not established. Safety and effectiveness in children 12 months to 8 years of age have been established [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.2), and Adverse Reactions (6.1)].

A 12-week study in 141 pediatric patients 6 to 12 months of age with mild to moderate asthma or recurrent/persistent wheezing was conducted. All patients were randomized to receive either 0.5 mg or 1 mg of budesonide inhalation suspension or placebo once daily. Adrenal-axis function was assessed with an ACTH stimulation test at the beginning and end of the study, and mean changes from baseline in this variable did not indicate adrenal suppression in patients who received budesonide inhalation suspension versus placebo. However, on an individual basis, 7 patients in this study (6 in the budesonide inhalation suspension treatment arms and 1 in the placebo arm) experienced a shift from having a normal baseline stimulated cortisol level to having a subnormal level at Week 12 [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.2)]. Pneumonia was observed more frequently in patients treated with budesonide inhalation suspension than in patients treated with placebo, (N = 2, 1, and 0) in the budesonide inhalation suspension 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and placebo groups, respectively.

A dose dependent effect on growth was also noted in this 12 week trial. Infants in the placebo arm experienced an average growth of 3.7 cm over 12 weeks compared with 3.5 cm and 3.1 cm in the budesonide inhalation suspension 0.5 mg and 1 mg arms respectively. This corresponds to estimated mean (95% CI) reductions in 12-week growth velocity between placebo and budesonide inhalation suspension 0.5 mg of 0.2 cm (-0.6 to 1.0) and between placebo and budesonide inhalation suspension 1 mg of 0.6 cm (-0.2 to 1.4). These findings support that the use of budesonide inhalation suspension in infants 6 to 12 months of age may result in systemic effects and are consistent with findings of growth suppression in other studies with inhaled corticosteroids.

Controlled clinical studies have shown that inhaled corticosteroids may cause a reduction in growth velocity in pediatric patients. In these studies, the mean reduction in growth velocity was approximately one centimeter per year (range 0.3 to 1.8 cm per year) and appears to be related to dose and duration of exposure. This effect has been observed in the absence of laboratory evidence of hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis suppression, suggesting that growth velocity is a more sensitive indicator of systemic corticosteroid exposure in pediatric patients than some commonly used tests of HPA-axis function. The long-term effects of this reduction in growth velocity associated with orally inhaled corticosteroids, including the impact on final adult height, are unknown. The potential for “catch up” growth following discontinuation of treatment with orally inhaled corticosteroids has not been adequately studied.

In a study of asthmatic children 5 to 12 years of age, those treated with budesonide administered via a dry powder inhaler 200 mcg twice daily (n=311) had a 1.1-centimeter reduction in growth compared with those receiving placebo (n=418) at the end of one year; the difference between these two treatment groups did not increase further over three years of additional treatment. By the end of four years, children treated with the budesonide dry powder inhaler and children treated with placebo had similar growth velocities. Conclusions drawn from this study may be confounded by the unequal use of corticosteroids in the treatment groups and inclusion of data from patients attaining puberty during the course of the study.

The growth of pediatric patients receiving inhaled corticosteroids, including budesonide inhalation suspension, should be monitored routinely (e.g., via stadiometry). The potential growth effects of prolonged treatment should be weighed against clinical benefits obtained and the risks and benefits associated with alternative therapies. To minimize the systemic effects of inhaled corticosteroids, including budesonide inhalation suspension, each patient should be titrated to his/her lowest effective dose [see Dosage and Administration (2) and Warnings and Precautions (5.8)].

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the 215 patients in 3 clinical trials of budesonide inhalation suspension in adult patients, 65 (30%) were 65 years of age or older, while 22 (10%) were 75 years of age or older. No overall differences in safety were observed between these patients and younger patients, and other reported clinical or medical surveillance experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients.

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

Formal pharmacokinetic studies using budesonide inhalation suspension have not been conducted in patients with hepatic impairment. However, since budesonide is predominantly cleared by hepatic metabolism, impairment of liver function may lead to accumulation of budesonide in plasma. Therefore, patients with hepatic disease should be closely monitored.


The potential for acute toxic effects following overdose of budesonide inhalation suspension is low. If inhaled corticosteroids are used at excessive doses for prolonged periods, systemic corticosteroid effects such as hypercorticism or growth suppression may occur [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].


Budesonide, the active component of budesonide inhalation suspension, is a corticosteroid designated chemically as ( RS)-11β,16α,17,21-tetrahydroxypregna-1,4-diene-3,20 dione cyclic 16,17-acetal with butyraldehyde. Budesonide is provided as a mixture of two epimers (22R and 22S). The empirical formula of budesonide is C 25 H 34 O 6 and its molecular weight is 430.5. Its structural formula is:

Structural Formula
(click image for full-size original)

Budesonide is white to off-white, tasteless, odorless powder that is practically insoluble in water and in heptane, sparingly soluble in ethanol, and freely soluble in chloroform. Its partition coefficient between octanol and water at pH 7.4 is 1.6 x 10 3.

Budesonide inhalation suspension is a sterile suspension for inhalation via jet nebulizer and contains the active ingredient budesonide (micronized), and the inactive ingredients anhydrous citric acid, disodium edetate dihydrate, polysorbate 80, sodium chloride, sodium citrate anhydrous and water for injection. It is available in single-dose ampules: 0.5 mg per 2 mL ampule. For budesonide inhalation suspension, like all other nebulized treatments, the amount delivered to the lungs will depend on patient factors, the jet nebulizer utilized, and compressor performance. Using the Pari-LC-Jet Plus Nebulizer/Pari Master compressor system, under in vitro conditions, the mean delivered dose at the mouthpiece (% nominal dose) was approximately 17% at a mean flow rate of 5.5 L/min. The mean nebulization time was 5 minutes or less. Budesonide inhalation suspension should be administered from jet nebulizers at adequate flow rates, via face masks or mouthpieces [see Dosage and Administration (2)].


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Budesonide is an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid that exhibits potent glucocorticoid activity and weak mineralocorticoid activity. In standard in vitro and animal models, budesonide has approximately a 200-fold higher affinity for the glucocorticoid receptor and a 1000-fold higher topical anti-inflammatory potency than cortisol (rat croton oil ear edema assay). As a measure of systemic activity, budesonide is 40 times more potent than cortisol when administered subcutaneously and 25 times more potent when administered orally in the rat thymus involution assay. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.

The activity of budesonide inhalation suspension is due to the parent drug, budesonide. In glucocorticoid receptor affinity studies, the 22R form was two times as active as the 22S epimer. In vitro studies indicated that the two forms of budesonide do not interconvert.

The precise mechanism of corticosteroid actions on inflammation in asthma is not well known. Inflammation is an important component in the pathogenesis of asthma. Corticosteroids have been shown to have a wide range of inhibitory activities against multiple cell types (e.g., mast cells, eosinophils, neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes) and mediators (e.g., histamine, eicosanoids, leukotrienes, and cytokines) involved in allergic- and non- allergic-mediated inflammation. The anti-inflammatory actions of corticosteroids may contribute to their efficacy in asthma.

Studies in asthmatic patients have shown a favorable ratio between topical anti-inflammatory activities and systemic corticosteroid effects over a wide dose range of inhaled budesonide in a variety of formulations and delivery systems including an inhalation-driven, multi-dose dry powder inhaler and the inhalation suspension for nebulization. This is explained by a combination of a relatively high local anti-inflammatory effect, extensive first pass hepatic degradation of orally absorbed drug (85 to 95%) and the low potency of metabolites (see below).

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